“It’s the end of the path I started us on.” Those are the words we hear Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) say to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron after Ultron and the Maximoff twins manage to defeat the team in their first encounter.
At the time of that film, it made sense for Tony to create something that would allow him and the rest of his team to lead the lives they so desperately desire.
Even though it backfired in the worst way possible, Ultron did serve as our lead in this year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Vision, a creation of Ultron, carries the Mind Stone right on his forehead. It’s the source of all his power and, in Age of Ultron, Thor manages to dump a little history about said stones throughout the film. All we know, however, is that they are allegedly super powerful.
The third Thor film Ragnorak leads straight into the opening of Infinity War, which implies that it was always Marvel’s plan to have Thor be the first one to figure out exactly what the Infinity Stones are.
The opening 10 minutes of the film set up the stakes — the strongest Avenger(s) versus Thanos (who already happens to have one Infinity Stone). It’s emblematic for the rest of the film, and once this two-hour movie kicks off, it doesn’t stop.
Every character featured in the film is introduced in a way that feels organic to the story and in character to who they are in their own individual films.
However, if you expect to follow one hero throughout the story then you’re going to be disappointed.
The focus here is on Thanos. After all, we don’t really know much about him. Yes, we get plenty of time to see all of our favorites reuniting after the events of Civil War, and we get to see the Guardians meet The Avengers (some of them at least), but the emotional and narrative arc of the film is squarely Thanos’.
Josh Brolin, who does the motion-capture performance for Thanos, does a great job with the emotional beats of the story, and he is also able to change his voice ever so slightly in order to become more menacing. The character himself has a legitimate back story to his evil plan — it’s based on population biology (shoutout to Thomas Malthus) — and his people suffering the consequences of overpopulation.
He carries the film as we follow him through the cosmos on his quest to find the stones. His relationship with Gamora, however, feels a little difficult to believe. Yes, we know her backstory and how much she hates him, but it’s one of those instances where the emotional bond is more told than shown.
Infinity War also does a good job of making Thor one of, if not the, best Avengers. He’s one of the few characters throughout the movie that gets a character arc, and it’s one that is an extension from Ragnarok and allows Hemsworth to use his charisma and comedic abilities to the benefit of the film as a whole.
The rest of the performances are what you’d expect from these actors, roles they’ve been playing for years that are all familiar now.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Infinity War is it’s own dependence on familiarity. If you’ve seen every single movie and followed every single article, everything makes sense. But chances are people don’t flock to the theater to watch Ant-Man and some just don’t particularly care enough about these characters to remember what their powers are or how they joined the rest of the cast.
In addition to that, the film has to find that perfect balance between plot and characters, which you can’t fully find beyond the surface level idea of “stop Thanos because genocide is bad.”
Given that the film follows up Ragnarok and Black Panther, which both contain subtext that deals with imperialism and isolationism, you might think that Infinity War will have something deeper to bring to the table. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
That’s not to say that Infinity War is not enjoyable as hell — it’s a bunch of your favorite superheroes fighting for their lives!
The film is full of surprises, genuinely leaving you questioning how they can follow this up. It’s a shame to call this a part one, at the very least this film feels like a sequel to the 18 films prior.
To quote The Fairly OddParents: Wishology, this is the “Exciting Middle Part” and on May 3, 2019 we get the conclusion to this over 10-year-long project.